04 October 2010

Habitat for Humanity + Bicycles = Awesome.

Since I was a small child I have been interested in home building. Later came architecture, skyscrapers, city planning, and so on. I love watching anything go from bits and pieces to a fully functioning something. Legos were my favorite toy ever, so much to create, limited only by your imagination.

This later, when I was in college, led to a fascination with the idea of Habitat for Humanity, but I have never taken the time to figure out how/when to volunteer: until now.

This week the Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter project for Habitat for Humanity is focusing on rehab'ing and building in a North Minneapolis neighborhood. Local non-profit TLC (Transit for Livable Communities) put out a call for people with bicycles and trailers to form a pedal powered delivery team to deliver tools and supplies to the various sites around the neighborhood. You BET I signed up!

On Wednesday I will finally have my chance to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, all the better, it's practically in my back yard and I get to participate while on my bicycle. Not to mention this will be the FIRST thing for which I bust out the Burley Honey Bee trailer that was gifted to us at one of our many baby showers prior to Baby Dubs arrival. (Baby Dubs will get his first ride in it next spring!)

Excited does not even begin to describe my emotion over all of this.


25 August 2010

Nice Ride

(Photo: Courtesy of NiceRidemn.org)

I finally did it.

I finally went for my first post-prego bike ride, and it was on a Nice Ride bicycle.

Here in Minneapolis, during my maternity leave, a new bicycle share system was launched. So far as I can tell, it is amazing.

* Nice Ride *

The bicycles are comfortable, the seats are big and easily adjusted up and down, the frames are step through, making them more functional for more people, they have three speeds, a bell, integrated headlights, and a nice basket/bungee set up on the front for carrying purses, briefcases, shopping bags, what have you. Oh yes, they also have skirt/coat guards (!).

My ride from a meeting in Downtown Minneapolis to my office at the University of Minnesota really was a nice ride. I was stopped in the left turn lane awaiting the light change, and a man in a car next to me asked how I like it. Seriously, if these bright green, can't miss 'em, bicycles just might be our answer to world peace. OK, maybe not, but everyone sure is interested in them!

Now, I have only one request for improvement: a conscious effort to educate Nice Ride users on the unlawfulness of sidewalk riding. Tall order.

I can't wait for this thing to expand! The first 30 minutes are free (for annual members). It is a way to keep the bicycles in circulation, because most people will try to make short trips, within the 30 minute window, rather than hogging the same bicycle for hours on end.

Can you tell how I feel about all of this? I'm totally sold. It will be interesting to see how things go on campus once all of the students return for fall semester. Good thing those clever Nice Ride folks went with bicycles that are sturdy, easy to use, but also difficult to rip off, and OBVIOUSLY not anyone's personal bicycle.


09 July 2010

Back in Black

"Well, I'm back, Yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, Yes I'm back
Well, I'm back, back
Well I'm back in black
Yes I'm back in black"

Quick Update:

Baby WKTB arrived on Friday, May 21st at 12:54 am. He was only 54 minutes late for his due date! Not too shabby. Only took some labor induction acupuncture, 21 hours of un-medicated labor, and a grand finale of a c-section for him to make his great escape. Now, seven weeks later everyone is happy, healthy, and doing just swimmingly! Did I mention he arrived at a whopping 11 lbs. 11 oz and 22.5 inches long? Yeah. I tested negative for gestational diabetes, so I'm not sure what happened there, but priority number one of "Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby" was achieved immediately, and for that we are grateful!

WKTB, in the flesh. Back in black, because that is my go to wardrobe color until I achieve my pre-pregnancy figure and weight, and even then I have quite a journey to achieve my goal weight. WKTB is another big, and very important reason to work towards becoming a healthier me! I hope to reach my goal weight by riding my bike. (In addition to joining weight watchers...again!)

We are blessed to have friends that gifted us with a Burley trailer to haul the little guy to and fro! It will be a bit yet before he is able to hold his head up with a helmet. I know time will go by faster than I would like...but I do look forward to full family bicycle outings!

-2.8 lbs (Since 7/2/10)
72 lbs to go!


15 March 2010

To Ride or Not to Ride

It seems that each year the weather turns gorgeous just before St. Patrick's Day. Enough so that St. Patrick's Day, over the past few years at least, has been the first day that I pull the bike out of winter hibernation. Even if I KNOW for sure that we will get snow once more before spring truly arrives. Not jaded, just realistic, I know my home. :)

Given that I'm 30 weeks along on baking the pierogi in this oven, I'm hesitant. I'm hesitant, but not because I think that pregnant ladies should not bike.

Instead, I'm hesitant because I am clumsy. I frequently fall down, for no good reason. The clumsiest person I know, and since the hormones started working double time, my clumsiness has increased exponentially.

I'm torn. I love my bike and I miss it. Beyond that, I am going through some serious bicycle riding withdrawal especially with today and yesterday turning out to be 60+ degrees and sunny.

So, I guess I will just pull the bike up, give it a once over, fill the tires, and stare at it for a while before I decide to ride or not.

Decisions, decisions...


26 February 2010

Good Stuff from City of Lakes Urbanism

My friend "Jacobean" over at City of Lakes Urbanism, wrote this great post on Minneapolis' upcoming bicycle boulevards. I've known about these for a good long time, and I couldn't be more excited!

12 February 2010


Well, it's winter here in Minnesota. *GASP* It won't let up for another 2.5 months, but I'm OK with that. I've lived here long enough to not get my hopes up for a snow free March/April. That said, I find that St. Patrick's Day is often the first day I pull my bicycle out of the garage for my first ride of the year.

Our fine friends on the East Coast have certainly gotten the worst of this winter's weather. In Minnesota we have seen the greatest snowfall since I was a kid, and I have to admit, I kind of love it. (Disclaimer: even with all we've gotten, we certainly haven't had to deal with the mess that's shut down the East, and for that I am thankful.)

I myself am not a winter cyclist, though I am a winter walker! When the winter snowstorms hit, walking is often the more convenient way for me to get around. I love plodding through the neighborhood after a fresh snowfall. Provided that people actually clear their sidewalks (AHEM, it is an enforceable city ordinance in the lovely Minneapolis).

I'm no stranger to falling ass over tea kettle a few times during the winter, but this time around, I have had to be much more careful. Especially since as of yesterday I'm sitting here 26 weeks pregnant. While I usually slip and fall in slow motion, I would rather not hurt myself or the pierogi growing within. Actually, it's not even the falling I'm so much worried about at this point as I am not being able to get up again on my own. *visualizing Bambi learning to walk*

After hearing about slip sliding around a friend of mine suggested "Yaktrax." I adore them! They're like snow chains for my feet! Certainly not fashionable, as I'm not into "overgearing" myself, but man alive have these puppies saved me from a fall multiple times already this winter. However, they do fit on a variety of my shoes: snowboots, tall black boots, even my Dansko mary janes.

Moving on from pedestrian crashes and onto bicycle.

A surprisingly large number of people cycle through the entire winter here. I'm impressed and admire each and every one of them. I have been told by many that you just expect to bite it about once per season. My boss bikes approximately 350 days/year and he's since gotten his annual fall out of the way.

Crashes with other people, bikes, and vehicles are another thing. An acquaintance's friend had a collision with a car the other day, breaking his collar bone, and his leg. My first question was," is he OK?!" My second question is always, "Did they report it?" By report I don't mean taking legal action, unless it is warranted, but I urge ANYONE who EVER gets into a crash with anyone for any reason to report it. Reporting these incidents is important, as the data collected can help inform improvements to the built environment or outreach efforts that are either geographically focused or widespread.

I'll hop off my soapbox now, and waddle off on my merry way.

Mackenzie & pierogi-in-the-oven